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 Post subject: My spacious Antec NSK3480 build
PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 2:25 pm 
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Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2007 8:52 am
Posts: 99
Location: Finland
This build began as a replacement for my P180 build from one year ago. It was a very succesful adaptation of cmthomson's rig (thanks for the tips!) with no overclocking, one less fan and no ducting needed. It was very, very quiet, below ambient. The only downside to it was the size of the case. Some hitches with the Asus P5B WiFi Deluxe motherboard and two whining Phantom 500 power supplies caused grief as well, but the former didn't have anything to do with silencing and the latter problem only exhibited itself in specific circumstances, namely GPU load.

I am not one that would constantly swap his gear for better, always wanting to stay at the top. The system that preceded the P180 rig was a 750MHz Duron box, enclosed in a massive silencing cabinet and it had served for over six years, with the cabinet having been in use for a little over seven and a half years. Building things is fun, so I wanted to try and optimize this setup. Since I use only one hard drive, current motherboards have integrated most features I need and microATX boards these days are just as viable as full size boards, I decided to go for it. Besides, the Antec NSK3480 is damn cute.

The parts from the "old" build are:
Core 2 Duo E6600
Scythe Ninja Rev. B heatsink
Thermalright HR-05 northbridge heatsink
4x1GB DDR2 800 A-Data Vitesta memory sticks
GF 7600GS
120mm Nexus fans
Scythe Quiet Drive
DVD-RW optical drive

New stuff:
Antec NSK3480 microATX case with an EarthWatts 380W PSU, fan swapped to an NCB fan
Gigabyte G33M-DS2R motherboard - the -S2 without RAID would have sufficed, but it wasn't available
Samsung T166 500GB hard drive - I had purchased this a while before to replace a 320GB drive, but delayed putting it in use
Some elastic for suspending the hard drive instead of laying it on foam as before.

The build wasn't hard at all really, it was about as laborous as any other, with some extra annoyance from having to cram the cables out of the way better than in roomier cases. Swapping the PSU fan was pretty straightforward, though I expended some unnecessary effort since it was my first fan swap. Better safe than sorry I guess. I finally ditched the floppy drive here, since it came very close to the fan on the Ninja. I had retained it for emergencies and other rare moments it was needed, but I figured I can always plug it in temporarily if a need arises and/or purchase a USB disk drive. Especially since I learned how to install AHCI or RAID driver after installing Windows, the F6 method with a driver floppy at hand isn't needed anymore.

The system has one less fan now, or not, depending on how you count. The P180 had three 120mm fans and a stopped one in the Phantom 500. Now there are just two 120mm Nexus fans and one 80mm in the PSU. They all run at inaudible speeds, constant 600rpm like before with the Nexus and whatever speeds the PSU fan runs at. I brought the tach signal wire outside but haven't bothered yet to check its signal as I would need to disconnect one of the others to do it. It is hard to judge the noise of this build as there's an odd ambient noise emanating from somewhere if I listen under the table - the computer is in the corner of the room and there's a vague noise floor there - the central heating system's radiator is a couple meters away and isn't the one hissing, but something else definitely is. In any case, where I sit the most audible noise is the annoying whine from the backlight control of my main LCD monitor.

In close listening the NSK3480 is subjectively (and I'm sure objectively as well) a bit louder than the P180 setup, but still below ambient. This is partly thanks to the fact that it is now a bit farther as it fits nicely under my 120 x 60 cm table that wasn't deep enough to keep the P180 under. If I press my ears near the case, I can hear more noise from something than before, although there are less fans and the vent grills have been cut except for the top cover PSU intake. If I stop all the fans the noise is not affected - it isn't the hard drive either (the noise characteristic is all wrong) and then there's the odd background whoosh from the building or whatever making it hard to tell what kind of sound comes from where. There's also some electrical noise from the PSU that I am interested in tackling, though it would be trial and error. Perhaps hot gluing the coils and so on - it's not necessary right now though, since none of this can be heard at one meter. Like before, the only noise this computer ever makes with any workload is the muffled hard drive seek noise (suspended and in a Quiet Drive). The Nexus fans don't have a need to speed up, and I don't think the PSU fan speeds up either, since there's no way this system draws more than 150W AC at any workload. Measurements of the previous system are here.

The temperatures are safe. Idle temps seem to be a couple degress higher for some reason, but load temps are the same as before, thanks to undervolting. Ambient is 21 degrees Celsius. CPU cores idle at 39 (37 at best), at full synthetic load they barely reach 50. The passive 7600GS idles at 59 degrees and when stressed with ATI Tool it reaches 80 degrees. I suppose it receives air through the expansion slot covers now. In any case, its temps are indentical to the P180 setup! System temperatures are not comparable since the motherboard is different, but "System" reads 34 degrees right now. Without the slight undervolt it was nearly 40. I never tried the stock heatsink and installed the HR-05 right away. Vcore is 1.15, manually set in bios, with "FSB" and "(G)MCH" each dropped a notch as well. I didn't see the need to try any lower FSB and (G)MCH voltages for now.

The usual HDD temps are now at 29 or 30 degrees - whopping six to seven degrees less however! I was satisfied with them before, mind you - this is just a side-effect from the space saving new placement, see below. The drive is of course different one now, but I don't think a 320GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.10 (ST3320620AS) would have had a significantly higher power dissipation compared to the 500GB Samsung T166 (HD501LJ) drive I now use.

Now for some long due pictures. Sorry for the low quality - I still don't have a camera of my own. :)

Image
Here it is - the looped wire is the PCIe auxiliary power, standing by in case I install a higher power graphics card at some later date. There's also the tach wire connector from the PSU fan.

Image
Up and running, but the short exposure time due to the flash shows the fan at standstill. 600 rpm isn't that slow. :)

Image
The SQD suspended on some clothing elastic, 1.5 meters of it. I threaded some wire through the various holes in the bulkhead between the compartments, providing loops for the elastic to thread through. A bit ghetto, but I couldn't be arsed to build a proper metal assembly at that time. I could make one that utilizes the floppy drive cage mounting at some later date. It's properly aligned like as it is though, so there's no pressing reason for extra work.
The SATA cables of the Gigabyte board have a nifty locking mechanism that the Asus P5B did not have. It works very well, but unfortunately the SQD's connector doesn't have anything it could lock into, hence the rubber band for a little extra security.

Image
Still plenty of room left for all kinds of hardware!
One memory stick is out at the moment, since after flashing the latest bios version the board refuses to boot with the full set. I haven't had time yet for a reboot to try some things like manually setting the correct timings (all settings were and are at automatic).

There's still room for improvement, like adding some ducting to eliminate any airflow short circuits from the expansion slots to the exhaust fan. The first thing I did was swap the side panels with each other to eliminate the unnecessary CPU cooler intake vent (from "Intel Thermally Advantaged Chassis" specs) on the left panel. Adding some foam might be in order since the side panel is just metal, unlike the composite panels in P180. I won't rush it though, since I'm considering some hotter running video card in addition to the current one. The 7600GS ran surprisingly well temperature-wise in the lowest slot, so the remaining question is the airflow if I add a hot gaming card with a cooler like the Accelero S1. With the current configuration it would dump much of its waste heat in the case and the CPU cooler would be affected by it. Only testing would reveal what kind of effect it would have. Trying to reverse the airflow (assuming I am right about the current direction in the first place...) wouldn't be easy, since there would not be room for a fan between the card and the front of the case, as the HDD is right there.

Well, that's it for now. Feel free to comment.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jan 01, 2008 2:29 pm 
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Joined: Thu Jan 22, 2004 5:33 am
Posts: 54
Nice build, I just built myself my nsk 3480 with q6600 processor and ninja scythe fan. Looks pretty much like yours, there is NOO space between heatsink and case edge so all the wires have to go through the small hole on side of psu case which means my ide cdrom drive wont plugin. I'm getting a sata drive which should cure that anyway! It's an awesome case and it's so dinky. I think the Ninja Scythe fan is the loudest in the case however, maybe I'll look into a replacement, dont know yet... 8)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 3:58 pm 
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Joined: Sat May 13, 2006 6:45 am
Posts: 66
could you tell us how you made the psu fan swap. how much did it help in the end?
also: did you only swap the fan or did you also use some sort of adapter to further slow it down?

Im asking because i also made an nsk3480 build and i am appalled by the noise of the psu!

It is so loud that i am now thinking about swapping it with a s12 430 or making a fan swap like you discribed.

edit: my system is also an nsk 3480 with q6600 processor and ninja scythe :)
btw. what do you need the fan on the ninja for? my quad idles at 25C in passive operation.

thanks


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2008 8:02 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 15, 2007 3:48 am
Posts: 91
Location: Australia
nemo wrote:
could you tell us how you made the psu fan swap. how much did it help in the end?
also: did you only swap the fan or did you also use some sort of adapter to further slow it down?

Im asking because i also made an nsk3480 build and i am appalled by the noise of the psu!

It is so loud that i am now thinking about swapping it with a s12 430 or making a fan swap like you discribed.

edit: my system is also an nsk 3480 with q6600 processor and ninja scythe :)
btw. what do you need the fan on the ninja for? my quad idles at 25C in passive operation.

thanks


I replaced the ADDA fan on my NSK3480 EarthWatt 380W PSU with a medium speed 80mm Panaflo fan. To date, I have yet to see the fan spin. I suspect it's because my system doesn't use enough power. I don't have a discrete video card as I am using a mobo with Integrated video and sound. Anyway, with the fan not spinning, I have not had any issues with it. The system has been running fine since November.

As for the fan swap itself, I used a flat head screw driver to remove the original 2-pin connector (coming from the ADDA fan), leaving behind 2 pins standing naked. I then iinserted the 3-pin connector (from the Panaflo fan) into the standing 2 pins. Make sure you insert the connector into the right pins!

Refer to this thread for more information:

http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=44905


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 12:40 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2007 8:52 am
Posts: 99
Location: Finland
nemo wrote:
Im asking because i also made an nsk3480 build and i am appalled by the noise of the psu!

It is so loud that i am now thinking about swapping it with a s12 430 or making a fan swap like you discribed.

edit: my system is also an nsk 3480 with q6600 processor and ninja scythe :)

Kreed's answer is a good one so I won't repeat his advice. My way was unnecessarily laborious since I swapped the wires in the original connector, to save the replacement fan's connector for the tach signal - in retrospect, I simply should have used another one of those connectors from a dead fan, as the ADDA fan's connector was smaller and it took some tinkering and hot glue to make the "wire swap" work with it.

I didn't listen to the original fan much and not in a complete system - I listened to it with the original case fan on low, with the system in out-of-the-box state, starting it up with the wire trick. It was audible though. With the current fan, even being the cheap chinese whatever-it-is, stopping the fan does not affect any direct noise production. All the noise the PSU makes is electronic whine from the components themselves and some airflow whoosh made by the top vent of the case, which does disappear if I stop the fan. All of this is only properly audible if I press my ear to the top vent though. So, swapping the fan definitely helped. Swapping the unused 5.25" bay cover to a vented one might help with the whooshing caused by the top vent by providing a larger intake cross-section, thus slowing the speed of the air at the top vent. More work would be needed to silence the non-moving components, which is a procedure I have never tried and would need to know more about before attempting it.

nemo wrote:
btw. what do you need the fan on the ninja for? my quad idles at 25C in passive operation.

It is for redundancy I guess. If one of the fans should ever fail... I want to be able to leave it working while I'm gone for a (long) while. It is unnecessary for the vast majority of the time, but if I stress the system as much as possible, it is needed. It's just a design philosophy I guess - it could be optimized out if the system won't be used for high loads for long periods of time. I just don't want to worry about it if I happen to load it to the max.

Are you sure your idle temps are 25C? It sounds to me like they are more like 40 degrees Celsius actually. What software do you measure it with and what is the stepping of your quad core? There are two kinds around, first there were the ones with Tjunction Max of 85 C like the duos, and then they were all with a Tjunction Max of 100 degrees C. Some (out of date) versions of monitoring programs don't know about this and show DST readings that are thus 15 degrees too small. There are several examples of this in the forums.
Edit: copyedit


Last edited by Jokoto on Fri Jan 04, 2008 4:04 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 3:14 am 
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Jokoto wrote:
Are you sure your idle temps are 25C? It sounds to me like they are more like 40 degrees Celsius actually. What software do you measure it with and what is the stepping of your quad core? There are two kinds around, first there were the ones with Tjunction of 85 C like the duos, and then they were all with a Tjunction of 100 degrees C. Some (out of date) versions of monitoring programs don't know about this and show DST readings that are thus 15 degrees too small. There are several examples of this in the forums.


I used speedfan to get this temperature. Will check if there is a newer version available...

Its 25C idle
20minutes under full load (all 4 cores): 42C
Its a q6600 G0 stepping

Cooling:
CPU: Scythe Ninja passive
CASE: 1 SFLEX 800

More info:
http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/vi ... highlight=


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 04, 2008 4:03 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2007 8:52 am
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Location: Finland
It looks like G0 quad core has a Tjunction Max of 100C. Try CoreTemp or the latest Everest. I just have this feeling a Quad shouldn't be able to idle that cool, especially with passive cooling. That would be ten degrees better than I ever got with the E6600 with a 600 rpm fan on the Ninja. While I have my doubts about the Rev. B retention system, I didn't bother changing it even though I bought the Thermalright LGA775 Bolt Thru Kit just in case. If there are no temperature problems or some other reason to take the machine apart for a while, I'm not going to go to the trouble of using it just yet.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 4:03 am 
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Jokoto wrote:
It looks like G0 quad core has a Tjunction Max of 100C. Try CoreTemp or the latest Everest. I just have this feeling a Quad shouldn't be able to idle that cool, especially with passive cooling. That would be ten degrees better than I ever got with the E6600 with a 600 rpm fan on the Ninja.


You are right.

Installed Coretemp, gives me these numbers:
Under full load: 55C average over all cores, 58C hottest core
Idle: 32C average over all cores, 33C hottest core, 10 min after load test

So the speedfan temps have nothing to do with cpu temp at all! thats what i learned for now.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 6:28 am 
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Location: Netherlands
Your temperatures are still fine though :)


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 6:49 am 
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Yeah, the temperatures are still just fine. You can configure an offset in SpeedFan's Advanced tab to make it useful - select "INTEL CORE at $0 on ISA" and set a proper number to the offsets in there. An offset of 15 degrees would make sense, but just cross-check what SpeedFan and Core Temp read and use the difference.

I myself needed an offset of 13 degrees for the temperature diode of the G33M-DS2R's CPU socket to make it reasonably follow the processor's DST readings. Other than that and the obviously incorrect +12V and -12V readings (4.03V & -16.97V), SpeedFan works great with this board.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 7:39 am 
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Or you can install SpeedFan Beta, it shows correct core temps, same as CoreTemp.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 06, 2008 2:54 pm 
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nemo wrote:
Im asking because i also made an nsk3480 build and i am appalled by the noise of the psu!

It is so loud that i am now thinking about swapping it with a s12 430 or making a fan swap like you discribed.
I have S12-430 in my 3400 and frankly it's not that quiet. The grills give a direct exit for all the fan noise (and electrical noise) as jokoto pointed out. I think Antec NeoHe might be the perfect active psu for this case. It's quiet, likely won't ramp up and it's modular, which makes cable work easier. If I was ever going to swap my S12, I'd probably buy Fortron Zen.

Quote:
btw. what do you need the fan on the ninja for? my quad idles at 25C in passive operation.
Jokoto gave his answer, but I'm going to answer this one. I was running my Ninja passively for a long time, but last time I tinkered with the case I installed a fan. My reason was, that because the psu fan is already "loud", so the extra fan won't likely make any difference in noise. This is probably subjective, since my case is place on the desk less then a meter away, so I have easy access to headphone socket and front usb-ports.

Yokoto: I like how you suspended the SQD. There's not much room to work with so this is probably as neat as humanly possible without major effort.

Does your optical use sata? I don't see any ide cables in the picture.

My take on the Accelero S1 is, that since you aren't overclocking you don't need to be worried about the extra couple of degrees in case and cpu temps. You are already running cool enough and I don't think high power card like HD3870 is going to make any difference in your idle temps and the difference in load is likely going to be minimal.

_________________
Antec Solo case /w Seasonic S-12 430W, Gigabyte GA-MA78GM-SH2, X2 4850e /w Scythe Ninja, 2x2Gb DDR2800, WD Raptor 150GB, 500GB WD GP in Antec MX-1, BenQ G2400W, Logitech diNovo Laser, Logitech z-680


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 9:18 am 
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Erssa wrote:
I have S12-430 in my 3400 and frankly it's not that quiet. The grills give a direct exit for all the fan noise (and electrical noise) as jokoto pointed out. I think Antec NeoHe might be the perfect active psu for this case. It's quiet, likely won't ramp up and it's modular, which makes cable work easier. If I was ever going to swap my S12, I'd probably buy Fortron Zen.


Oh i just hate psus. We are in 2008 and it is impossible to find a quiet psu. No wonder people dump pcs for laptops.

Thanks a lot you your inputs, though!!!


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 07, 2008 10:55 am 
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Joined: Wed Apr 18, 2007 8:52 am
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Location: Finland
Yes, sata cables all the way in this build. I made the switch over a year ago with the previous setup. If all manufacturers used locking sata cables like the ones that came with this board, their only weakness (loose connectors) is taken care of.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 08, 2008 10:11 am 
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nice nsk3480 build! Did you ever find out the culprit for the noise?


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